Should I worry about mouth ulcers?

15 August 2017

Mouth Ulcer Lip
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Do you have one or more mouth ulcers? Whilst uncomfortable, mouth ulcers are not something to cause undue worry.
Here’s our guide about mouth ulcers and what you should do about them!

What is a mouth ulcer?

Mouth ulcers are sores that appear on the inside of your mouth, often causing some pain and discomfort. Most mouth ulcers will disappear within three weeks but some can be more persistent and problematic.

How do I know that I have a mouth ulcer?

Mouth ulcers are red or yellow sores which appear on the inside of your mouth. Most of them are quite painful.

They are sometimes confused with cold sores which are actually quite different, appearing on the outside of your lips and as the result of a virus.

Are all mouth ulcers the same?

Whilst mouth ulcers are easy to identify there are several different types of ulcer that can appear in your mouth:

  1. Traumatic ulcers:
    Sharp teeth, aggressive brushing, biting your cheek or tongue, ill-fitted dentures – all of these could cause a traumatic ulcer. Traumatic ulcers are usually a single mouth ulcer.
  2. Recurrent Aphthous Stomatitis (We don’t expect you to remember the name!):
    Recurrent aphthous stomatitis are a common problem but the cause is currently unknown. These ulcers keep coming back – children and young people are most likely to suffer from them. Most of them are minor ulcers sometimes found in clusters of four to six.Larger versions of this ulcer are more severe and can take longer to heal. These larger ulcers usually appear one at a time and can be very painful. They can often appear on or near the tonsils at the back of the mouth.
  3. Ulcers caused by viral infections:
    Mouth ulcers can be the result of viral infections, but these are less common. For example, Herpes Simplex can cause mouth ulcer

I think I have a mouth ulcer – what should I do?

First some good news – most mouth ulcers will heal by themselves!

However, if an ulcer persists for longer than three weeks you should book an appointment with us. The dental team at Redmires Dental Care will examine your mouth, help to diagnose the problem and recommend treatment if needed.

Is there a link between ulcers and mouth cancer?

Most of the time mouth ulcers are completely harmless, however they can be a symptom of mouth cancer.

An ulcer caused by cancer will usually appear on or under the tongue, but can sometimes appear elsewhere in the mouth. These ulcers are usually single and last a long time without any obvious cause.

It’s important to be aware of the signs of mouth cancer. If your ulcer has lasted longer than three weeks, it is always a good idea to visit your dentist to get it checked out.

Can I stop ulcers developing in my mouth?

Readers battling the pain of a mouth ulcer may ask this question! How can you prevent mouth ulcers appearing in your mouth?

The best place to begin is with a good level of basic oral hygiene. Keep your mouth clean and healthy by brushing your teeth twice a day with a fluoride toothpaste, clean between your teeth with floss or interdental brushes and keep up your regular visits to the dentist.

If mouth ulcers are repeatedly appearing in your mouth don’t forget to ask us about it during your next check-up!

Your dentist may be able to help identify the cause of a traumatic ulcer such as a sharp tooth. If you’re frequently getting traumatic ulcers due to the way you brush your teeth you may want to change toothbrush. A quality toothbrush will reduce the risk of damage to your mouth.

You may also want to check your diet. Fresh fruit and vegetables are rich in vitamins and reduce the risk of both mouth ulcers and mouth cancer.

It’s important to take mouth ulcers seriously but if you follow these steps you have nothing to worry about!

If mouth ulcers have been bothering you recently, please book an appointment at Redmires Dental Care – we would be happy to take a look and give advice.

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